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UPD hosts Social Solidarity Economy confab


Guest speakers at the opening of the conference. From left: RIPESS board member Nancy Neamtan, Ofreneo, Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria of ASEC Malaysia, Utting, Paul Singer, Secretary of Solidarity Economy, Brazil and Michael Lewis, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal.

(October 24)—For four days, UP Diliman (UPD) was ground zero for a worldwide conference on social solidarity economy (SSE)—an economic model based on values and equality—in which close to 400 participants gathered at various locations across UPD from October 15 to 18.

The event was the fifth international meeting of the International Network for the Promotion of SSE (RIPESS), a network of organizations and individuals who practice and advocate SSE.

The theme of the conference was “Building SSE as an Alternative Model of Development.”

Much of it consisted of simultaneous thematic workshops and fora. Three UPD units—the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), School of Labor and Industrial Relations and Asian Center—all sponsored individual workshops.  

CSWCD Dean Rosalinda Pineda-Ofreneo is co-chair of the conference’s National Organizing Committee and an individual member of the Asian Solidarity Economy Council, the Asian wing of RIPESS.

According to guest speaker United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Deputy Director Peter Utting, SSE is “a broad range of organizations that are distinguished from conventional for-profit enterprise, entrepreneurship and informal economy by two core features.”

He describes these two features as: “they have explicit economic and social (and often environmental) objectives, (and) they involve varying forms of co-operative, associative and solidarity relations.”

Ofreneo further explains that SSE emphasizes “self-management and collective ownership in the workplace and in the community,” where “the welfare of people and planet take precedence.”—Text and images by Anna Kristine Regidor